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Old 09-27-2005, 06:09 AM   #737
Joe Redifer
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Denver, Colorado
Posts: 20,095
Urban Reign
Playstation 2

This game is Namco's take on America.

Urban Reign is a game I would have passed by without so much as a thought due to its typical "street" style graphics and that whole attitude in it. If you had shown me a picture of the game, I'd have probably said that the game was most likely a Grand Theft Auto rip off or something along those lines. But then I heard it was a beat-em-up style game, like Streets of Rage and Spikeout. That got my attention. I'm glad I took a second look. I'll mostly be comparing this game to Spikeout which is reviewed above.

You lost a quarter in the pinball machine and now somebody must PAY!

Graphics: 9/10
Despite being ridiculously dark (brightened for the benefit of the pictures here), the graphics comes off as extremely good, especially for the PS2. Hell, they're good for ANY system, and the graphics are far better than Spikeout for the Xbox. The animation is what really sets this game apart, as everything performed looks like a real human is doing it with regard to the physics and all of that crap. Not only that, but we're given both 16:9 and 480p which is pretty rare for a PS2 game, and it all runs great. Another thing that is great is that in 16:9 mode there are no stretched HUDs or menus or anything half-assed like that. It's all true, perfect widecreen. Since it is so dark it doesn't look quite as sharp as Spikeout, but I still think that anyone in their right mind would find the graphics much more enjoyable in this game. There is also much more variety in the characters and textures.

Here Grimm rudely shoves you into the tables.

Sound: 7/10
You've got your typical voiceovers of people trying to sound tough. Surprisingly there isn't much in the way of profanity. A lot of losers won't buy this game since it doesn't have profanity or ass-raping of hookers. Sure, there are some "not suitable for children under 7" words like "ballsy", "cajones", "hell", "damn" and the like, but this game relies on gameplay instead of shock value to make it good. The music is pretty good, but doesn't seem to have much in the way of variety. There is a very Akira Yamoaka-ish sounding guitar that you hear alot, and you think your next stop will be in the town of Silent Hill, but no. Hell I'm just happy that there isn't a rap soundtrack and instead they opted for actual music!

Here Grimm apologizes for shoving you into the tables earlier.

Gameplay: 8/10
The gameplay takes a slightly different turn on the typical beat-em-up genre, and for the better I think. Instead of throwing you into a stage and having you beat your way to the end through hundreds of enemies, it puts you into what I like to call "micro missions" with just a few enemies you need to defeat in a rather small area. This can be a barroom, a parking lot, an alley, or some other nonsense like that. Beat up all the guys there and it's time for the next mission (of which there are tons and tons). You can upgrade your character's abilities between missions and you learn new moves automatically as well. The control works pretty well with your basic strike and evade, but you can also run up walls and land on multiple enemies with your feet which is REALLY cool. There are times when the control does seem a bit unresponsive and you simply have to sit there and wait until your enemy finishes beating you. Due to the micro missions the game doesn't suffer from the extreme repetition that games like Spikeout and Streets of Rage do. And unlike Spikeout it is easy to pick up and use items! The RUN button takes a bit to get used to. You would assume that you just hold it down and press the direction you want to run in and let go when you are done running. If you thought that then you would be extremely wrong just like you always are 100% of the time. So actually I'm not surprised you thought that. You always think wrong things. You really should try harder to be a better human being. Anyway the run button basically acts as an ON/OFF button. Press it once and you'll be running until you press it again to stop. Kind of quirky but easy to get used 2 if u be extremely bright like I is.

Put down the controller for now. There's nothing you can do until
your face is finished being bashed in by this guy.

Wrap up:
Urban Reign is not made by Rockstar or any of those lame companies who make all of those crime games. It is made by Japanese developer Namco, so that alone should be enough to warrant a second look. It's why I took a second look, and I'm really glad I did. Definitely the best beat-em-up of this generation.

Last edited by Joe Redifer; 09-27-2005 at 06:33 AM.
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